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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Making state government efficient and effective

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

From time to time, people ask me "How do you make decisions before you cast your votes?" That is a great question. The voting is easy -- it is making that certain decision that sometimes gets tough. Seriously, on most issues it boils down to using common sense; for example, when the Legislature formulates an annual budget, I try to follow a few simple principles. For starters, do not spend more than you take in. It is hard to get into trouble if this guideline is followed. Secondly, don't use one-time money to fund new or ongoing programs. Thirdly, keep your promises. Many times it is not possible to make an iron-clad promise, but if it happens, make sure you do everything you can to follow up with a positive outcome. These principles are what Iowans generally follow in their family budgets, so government should follow suit. Iowans expect and deserve a government that spends tax dollars wisely, and I am committed to making state government efficient and effective.

Another tool I use for decision making is the practice of asking a lobbyist for information. Just about every group or profession you can think of has a registered representative here at the Capitol. I use them a lot because they are focused and usually have the information and answers I need. There are two sides to every issue, so I have to talk to both sides. Many times, lobbyists are viewed as bad or dishonest people. This is not true. These folks have to be honest with us or they have no credibility here, and at the Capitol, your word is everything. Basically, I gather as much data as I can, and then decide what is best for my people back home.

My best source of information is you, my constituent. And I do emphasize the word 'best'. I try to make myself available to you by holding town-hall meetings, publishing a weekly newsletter, making my phone number available or maybe by simply having a cup of coffee with you. If you would like to get on my newsletter list, please contact us at dan.huseman@legis.state.ia.us. The rest of my contact information is at the end of this newsletter.

I offer the previous paragraphs to you because I am asking for your help and advice on a couple of issues which will be coming up in a couple of weeks. Number one: Should the State of Iowa raise the gas tax $0.08 per gallon over the next two years? And should the state ban the use of traffic enforcement cameras? These seem to be two very hot issues this year, and we will be voting on them soon. Please let me know what you would like to see happen.

The House passed two bills Thursday and sent them to the Governor for his signature.

Senate File 2007 is a supplemental appropriations bill that provides an additional $4.3 million to the National Guard Educational Assistance Program. This is in addition to the $3.186 million appropriated last year. We needed to do this because there was an underestimation of how many soldiers would apply for the funds. Iowa's huge deployment is over and the soldiers are coming home and want to go to college. This is a great program and I encourage any interested Guardsman to check it out. I proudly supported the bill, which passed unanimously.

The second piece of legislation deals with $3 million the state appropriated last year to help with the restoration of the USS Iowa. The battleship has been awarded to the Pacific Battleship Center in Los Angeles, California and with this legislation parameters will be set as to how the money will be spent. Obviously, we want it used for repairs and painting as it will become museum. If you are ever at the Capitol here in Des Moines, be sure to visit the replica of the USS Iowa on the west end of the first floor rotunda. It is an amazing work of art. The bill passed the House on a unanimous vote.

You may reach me at the Capitol during the week by phoning me at 515-281-3221, or at home on weekends at 712-434-5880. You may write me at the State Capitol, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. My home address is P.O. Box 398, Aurelia, Iowa 51005. If you have email, please contact me at dan.huseman@legis.state.ia.us.